Now this building, most people think it was Bagg’s Hotel. No it wasn’t. this building is a memorial building. When did all this happen? This all happened in the 1930s. The last person to own Bagg’s Hotel, after a long line of proprietors, was a man by the name of Thomas R. Proctor. Thomas Proctor was a magnificent benefactor to Utica. We’ve got all of Proctor’s parks, the park system, he bought it and gave it to Utica. Well, he owned this place. He died in 1920. So his wife, Mariah Proctor – Mariah Williams Proctor, she was a Williams girl – she inherited the hotel. By 1932 it was obvious that this hotel had met its best days, because by then you had Hotel Hamilton, you had hotel Utica, you had the St. James Hotel across the way, so there were a lot of newer hotels. And she decided that this hotel wasn’t worth rehabbing. She wanted to tear it down. So in 1932, as you can all remember what was going on in the 1930s? The Great Depression. So she decided that to tear the hotel down, she ordered them to use hand labor only. And her reason was a lot of people were out of work. If you did only hand labor you’d be able to employ more people, and give more people jobs. And then she ordered that all the wood from the hotel be piled here on Main Street and that any poor person to come along with their wagon or whatever they had to cart it away, and they could cart it away, because in those days most people used wood to heat their homes.

So this building is a memorial to Thomas Proctor. And the front door? Well, they don’t make em like that anymore.

It’s been here for since 1933. Nothing’s been done to it. You can see the bottom of it is being deteriorated. The hand knobber here, the knocker’s gone. Some say this door was the front door of the hotel. I can’t authenticate that. I don’t know that’s what I was told. It’s the door is very, very thick. How much is that? 4 inches maybe?

There’s a blue New York State historical marker, over to the right. A lot of famous people stayed at Bagg’s Hotel.

Presidents and princes and people from other countries, national authors, Washington Irving. A lot of people of national and international fame stayed at this Hotel.

But, there’s one problem with the sign.

Washington never stayed here.

Now with the bridges on the left, we’ll head toward the north edge of the park. There’s a parking lot on the other side.

Now out in that parking lot, right on the other side of the wall…

Right there. Was where the first train station was. It was a little one-room building, nothing big. It sat right there. And people used to come and Bagg’s Hotel would have somebody there beating the drum, telling the people getting off the train about the lunch at Bagg’s Hotel. And the back door at the hotel would enter right here, so they had a pretty good lock on that traffic. In that first train station,1850 was the American Express headquarters. Vice President, John Butterfield, Utica, New York. Imagine the American Express company’s headquarters was right there. And if you go into the Bagg Square itself

You want to look over your left shoulder. To your left and sort of behind you a little bit.

You’ll see, on that far corner is where Samuel Morris and Samuel Chubbuck – Samuel Chubbuck by the way built the first commercial Telegraph key, Samuel Morris developed the telegraph itself right in the building on that corner. It’s called the Dudley Building.

The building is over on the other side of the Old Bagg’s Square, on the other side of the bridge.

I mean, it’s just amazing the history in this area so you had the American Express company headquarters here, you had the telegraph headquarters there. First telegraph company in the world.

OK, there’s one more stop on our Detour. But before that, one more story here at the park.

Remember when Bagg’s Tavern was serving drinks on this spot, Utica didn’t exist. The village was called Old Fort Schuyler.

But then one night in the tavern…

13 men met because they didn’t like Old Fort Schuyler, they were going to petition the state legislature to become a official village, and they didn’t want to be called Old Fort Schuyler so they met in Bagg’s Hotel, and they got in an argument about what to call it. One man wanted to call it Kent – we would have known it as Kent New York – because he was from Kent, England. Another one wanted to call it Washington after General George. Another one wanted to call it Skenendoa after the Indian chief who helped us in the war. So they got kind of ruckus, and the way I envision it, the bartender said why don’t we do it this way? Each one of you write on a piece of paper your suggestion for a name. We’ll fold them up and we’ll put them in a hat. And we’ll all agree – we’ll reach in and the first one we pull out, that’s going to be the name. They said ok? Everybody agreed, so they wrote their name and put it in a hat. The first one pulled out – Utica. They all looked at each other. Utica? Where did that come from? Well it was one of the men present was a man by the name of Erastus Clark. Erastus Clark. He was an attorney, and he did a lot of reading, and he’s a classical scholar read a lot of old world studd. And in Africa, Northern Africa, is a place called Utica, and he read about it, and that’s where he got the idea and he thought it was a clever name. So that was that’s how we became Utica, New York. The birthplace. 1798.